In 1678/79 Johannes van Keulen (1653/54-1715) established himself in Amsterdam and in 1680 he obtained a patent from the States of Holland and Westfriesland allowing him to print and publish maritime atlases and shipping guides. These were books of maps and descriptions of iteneraries, used by helmsmen for safe navigation.
Johannes named his firm ‘In de Gekroonde Lootsman’ ('In the Crowned Pilot') and he put up the corresponding sign on a house on Nieuwebrugsteeg, on a corner of what is presently called Prins Hendrikkade in Amsterdam. Soon Van Keulen struck a deal with cartographer Claes Jansz. Vooght.
From 1681 onwards the Nieuwe Lichtende Zee-Fakkel appeared, a five volume atlas for which Vooght compiled the maps. The five volume Zee-Fakkel made Johannes van Keulen famous.
His son, Gerard van Keulen (1678-1726), continued his work and produced new editions of the various volumes. Grandson Johannes II van Keulen (1704-1755) published a new edition of the volume with maps of Asian waters, first published in 1755. Great-grandson Gerard Hulst van Keulen (1733-1801) occupied himself with the last editions of the Zee-Fakkel, of which the copy in this collection is one.